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The Expanse
#1
The Expanse has been a very good show we've been watching on Amazon Prime TV. The first two seasons are free. You have to pay $30 for season 3. The fourth season is under contract to be made but not done yet. After the first two seasons, we did not hesitate to pony up for season three.

The Expanse is set 200 years in the future. The solar system is heavily colonized but no FTL drive has been developed yet. There are three main factions, the Earthers, the Martians, and the Belters.

They grabbed me early on when a rail gun punched a hole through a ship during a battle. Someone slapped a metal plate over the hole and pulled out a huge menacing looking black gun. It was a glue gun, lol.

The story is deep and detailed. Space is depicted as a dangerous brutal unforgiving place. 

Things I found interesting.
  • Rocket drives. Their ships use basic rockets and act like rockets, turning their butt to decelerate toward their destinations and flying realistic orbits. Their drives are slightly advanced, with the development of the "Epstein drive", which grants them super fuel efficiency.
  • Newtonian physics. If their ships aren't accelerating, people are weightless inside. People aboard ships are constantly brutalized by the effects of rocket drive acceleration. Spin is used at space stations to provide simulated gravity. They make heavy use of "grav boots" to gloss over weightlessness when it isn't a factor. 
  • No energy weapons. Their ships have rail guns, missiles and swiveling Gatling guns for missile defense. People carry large caliber pistols and machine guns.
  • Mormons. Who puts Mormons in a sci fi thriller?
If you are turned off by foul language or gruesome death, this is not the show for you.

I liked the engine contrail effect on their Epstein drives. It would not be appropriate for a gravity drive. However, the Epstein drive would be an interesting advancement over a standard rocket drive. I wonder if they would mind if I called it that? The Epstein drive would probably take on the fuel efficiency of the current rocket drive module, which would then become much less efficient; it is currently very efficient.
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#2
(08-31-2018, 10:37 PM)Haxus Wrote: The Expanse

I do really want to watch this, I have it on Netflix. But I don't think it is something my wife would enjoy.

(08-31-2018, 10:37 PM)Haxus Wrote:
  • No energy weapons. Their ships have rail guns, missiles and swiveling Gatling guns for missile defense. People carry large caliber pistols and machine guns.

Would love some rework of ballistic weapons. Cannons make good use for large projectiles, but that aren't really good around a gravity well or hitting moving targets.
Rail guns are more used in hard sci-fi as ship to ship weapons. I guess you can think of them as low-tech non-energy lasers, since they are almost instant traveling at short range.

(08-31-2018, 10:37 PM)Haxus Wrote:
  • Rocket drives. Their ships use basic rockets and act like rockets, turning their butt to decelerate toward their destinations and flying realistic orbits. Their drives are slightly advanced, with the development of the "Epstein drive", which grants them super fuel efficiency.
...
However, the Epstein drive would be an interesting advancement over a standard rocket drive. I wonder if they would mind if I called it that? The Epstein drive would probably take on the fuel efficiency of the current rocket drive module, which would then become much less efficient; it is currently very efficient.

If the name is copy-righted or something, you can just call it "advanced rocket maneuver drive" or you can go with different fueled rockets.

But yeah, advanced versions of some modules, even if just slight efficiency increase, would be preferable over the current "QL slider" for spacecraft. Upgrading your spacecraft to use a new fancy module just feels really nice, even if it is just a new name and better stats.
Advanced modules can also require advanced non-earth materials, so we have a reason to go colonizing.
Shores of Hazeron Wiki Moderator
hazeron.com/wiki/ User: Deantwo
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#3
They would have to have filed a trademark for the term "Epstein drive". Copyright isn't enough.
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#4
To my mind, it would create an inconsistency with other types of Hazeron technology, none of which is named after individuals. This is presumably to avoid imposing a spurious shared history on cultures which developed in isolation. For example, refineries create fertilizer "from atmosphere" rather than "by the Haber process", since, I assume, Haber was not a psionic crab-man with an area-of-effect weapon mounted in his head. 

You could, of course, have us obtain the Epstein drive not by research but by a quest-line, using the story engine. If Epstein were one of those strange archetypical characters like Targoss or Dr Xian who haunt the dreams of the whole universe, a shadowy source of old secrets, that could be pretty exciting. Otherwise, it would feel odd. I don't know anything about intellectual property law in the US, but you could always call it he Hepsworth Drive of the Eberhard Drive or something like that.


I also really like The Expanse: I'm glad you enjoyed it. But I do feel, as rich and persuasive as its worldbuilding is, and despite its uncommonly good pacing, it has a slight narrative flaw. As you make the world more wicked and hopeless, you need to increase the moral grandeur of your protagonists. Not necessarily their goodness, but their grandeur - Euripides' Medea was hardly a virtuous person, but her motivations were tragic and lofty. The Expanse too often makes its main characters petty, which is the one thing you can't do. Then, instead of a breathtaking chiaroscuro, you just feel as if the camera lens is  a bit dirty. Fringe was exceptional in this area, I thought, since its protagonists were, if anything, darker and more flawed than the world they lived in - but always nobly flawed. They often made you gasp or cry, but they never made you groan or shout "just grow up already!"* I felt The Expanse improved this over time, especially in the second season, but they probably lost a number of viewers in the first few episodes, when it was just too difficult to care about anyone. Haven't reached season 3 yet.

Is it normal that, in The Expanse, the idea of a World State scares me more than the actual protomolecule?

*Ok, maybe Peter sometimes.
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#5
Don't worry, I was not serious. I would not use their name.
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#6
Thumbs Up 
I really like The Expanse as well.  

Travel times are heavily glossed over as people "rocket around" the solar system, but overall the show is thoroughly entertaining.
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#7
Gossian Drive anyone? Ofcourse cobbled together in a flash of inspiration by Targoss himself.
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